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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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Disparities in Agriculture
The problem of increasing disparity in income among farming areas is rooted in the heterogeneity of agricultural production possibilities, especially in large countries. Therefore, the opportunities to modernize agriculture are, as a rule, very unequal within a country. Thus, the stage is set for income disparities and for marked differences in population pressures among farming areas even if there were no population growth. The proposition here advanced is that the higher the rate of population growth, the greater the stresses on the economic system, on the political process, and on the people in the depressed areasóbecause the solution entails avast amount of internal migration.
Farm Food Prices
Under competitive conditons, the gains in agricultural productivity that are obtained from the adoption and efficient use of modem agricultural inputs are, in general, transferred to the consumers of the farm products as equilibrium is approached. These gains are revealed in lower farm-food prices which are transferred to the benefit of consumers; they become a consumer surplus. During any decade the absolute amount of this consumer surplus that is realized from the gains in agricultural productivity necessarily becomes smaller per consumerówhen it is distributed among an increasing number of consumers.
Population Responses
Finally, I want to call attention to some of the comprehensive implications concealed in the proposition about parents' choices presented earlier. The expectations of farm people have long been established by the niggardly economic opportunities of traditional agriculture and by general poverty.* These circumstances lead to a complex set of interactions, the core of which is between (a) the substantially better economic opportunities in areas of modernizing agriculture which are accompanied by the availability of cheaper food for the rank and file of the population; and (b) the rate of population growth. The unsettled question is: What are the population responses to the better economic opportunities and cheaper food? In terms of micro theory of the household, farm parents may view their additional income from more modern fanning as transitory income. They would then add it to what they otherwise would have saved for investment. Some part of it would be allo-
*In (61) the paper by Kancda, "Long-Term Changes in Food Consumption Patterns in Japan," presents evidence that consumers in Japan were slow in shifting to a more expensive diet as their incomes rose.